tv The Early Show CBS July 12, 2011 7:00am-9:00am EDT
good morning. the heat is on. a dangerous heat wave spreads across at least 22 states, from texas all the way up to new england. triple digit temperatures, and high humidity signal major warnings for tens of millions of americans. we'll tell you when it will finally break. stalemate. president obama and congressional leaders hold more talks today to raise the debt ceiling. both sides are refusing to budge on tax increases or spending cuts. we'll talk with republican congressman paul ryan about the debt showdown, and how millions of americans on medicare could be impacted by a new deal. and final spell. a star-studded premiere for the last harry potter film. thousands of fans on hand to bid an emotional farewell to their
favorite teen wizards, early this tuesday morning, july 12th, favorite teen wizards, early this tuesday morning, july 12th, 2011. captioning funded by cbs and good morning to you on this rather warm tuesday morning. i'm erica hill. you can see 7:00 a.m. in new york city, 81 degrees. and it feels a little stickier than just 81 out there. >> you see the 81 with an exclamation point? >> it may have been. >> definitely 81. man is it hot around here, huh? >> yeah, that humidity outside. folks all across the country from texas all the way up to new england, feeling this. nearly two dozen states under heat advisories this morning. excessive heat warnings. temperatures could reach record levels in some places. and find a pool, my friends, because it is not cooling down any time soon. >> that looked pretty good, the 81 not so bad next to the 106 we just saw there.
that's where we want to start this morning because it is brutal out there. the brutal heat wave, covering large areas from texas to the northeast. parts of kansas will see record-setting temperatures for seven straight days. let's go to kara sewell of our wichita affiliate. kara, good morning. >> good morning, chris. wichita hit 111 degrees on sunday. we've already had 19 triple digit days so far this year. and we're only three weeks into the summer. now this intense heat that's covering much of the nation's midwest isn't going anywhere any time soon. blistering heat, affecting people, livestock and crops, is rolling across the central u.s. with excessive heat warnings for 17 states in the midwest and south, dallas and oklahoma city have endured 100-degree heat for ten days in a row. and forecasters say the hot weather is here to stay. for at least another seven days. >> it's awful. >> reporter: in oklahoma, roads buckled from the heat. across the midwest, this year's
corn crop is in real danger. >> that is an ear of corn thises year looks like. >> reporter: in kansas, the nation's sixth largest corn producer, more than half of this season's crop is in poor condition. cattle ranchers are also hurting without enough corn for feed or water for their livestock to drink, some owners are trying to sell off their herd. >> those are not very easy to find and buy back and they're certainly not very cheap to find and buy back. >> reporter: and the heat's ripple effect continues. with cows eating less, milk production is down, too. costing farmers thousands of dollars a month. where it does rain, it pours. sudden, fast-moving storms tore across parts of the midwest monday. tearing roofs from homes and uprooting trees. almost 1 million customers were left without power. and, chris, as we all know, we have still got a whole lot of summer ahead of us. in wichita, here, has already reached their triple digit days that they typically have for the entire year. >> wow.
kara sewell in wichita for us this morning. kara, thanks so much. let's get more on the heat wave now from marysol castro. marysol, good morning. >> good morning, chris. good morning, everyone at home. well, this heat is dangerous. in short, more than 21 states have excessive heat watches and warnings, and you can see the red is where we really focus, kansas city, st. louis, tulsa and memphis. in the central plains the heat is in the 90s, with heat indices in the 100s. and it stays this way at least through saturday. in the northeast, it's very hot, and very humid, as well. we're going to look at some excessive heat watches for the day. 89 in pittsburgh, 87 in buffalo. again, you factor in the humidity, and it's just sweltering in the afternoon. some thunderstorms start to move in, and of course going to keep track on it. we're going to tell you your national forecast later on in the show. but right now back over to erica. >> all right. we'll check in with you for that in just a moment. for the third day in a row, president obama and congressional leaders will meet at the white house, where they will try once again to hammer out a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling and lower the deficit. cbs news senior white house
correspondent bill plante has more for us this morning. bill, good morning. >> good morning, erica. well, the deadlock continues. and there is no sign that anyone in this ideological standoff is ready to give ground. the president set the stage for monday's meeting, by saying that it was time for all sides to come together, and reassure the nation. >> i think it will give the american people enormous confidence that this town can actually do something once in awhile. >> reporter: the two sides remain far apart. and some republicans have suggested a stopgap extension of the debt ceiling, so that the nation does not default on its debts on august 2nd. but the president said no deal. >> i will not sign a 30-day or a 60-day or a 90-day extension. that is just not an acceptable approach. >> reporter: indeed, said mr. obama, any kind of deal will only get more difficult as election day approaches. >> we might as well do it now. pull off the band-aid. eat our peas. now is the time to do it.
if not now, when? >> reporter: the only deal on the table monday was not the president's $4 trillion wish list. but a smaller package of $2.4 trillion. and even there, the two sides can agree only on cuts of about $1.7 trillion. but house speaker john boehner, under pressure from his caucus, said there can be no new taxes. >> the president and i do not agree on his view that government needs more revenue through higher taxes on job creators. the president and i also disagree on the extent of the entitlement problem, and what is necessary in order to solve it. >> reporter: the president continues to insist on what he calls a balanced package, with both spending cuts, and new revenue. >> i'm willing to move in their direction in order to get something done. and that's what compromise entails. >> reporter: so the president yesterday asked everyone in the room to go home and do a kind of homework assignment. to come back, and, with their solutions to the difference
between the $1.7 trillion, that's trillion, on which they mostly agree, and the $2.4 trillion they need. some numbers. >> a lot of zeros, bill. and it sounds like a familiar homework assignment. we'll see how they did with it later today. bill plante, thanks. joining us now from capitol hill, republican congressman paul ryan of wisconsin. sir, good to have you back with us this morning. >> good morning, erica. thanks for having me. >> i know that you have a hearing coming up later today on medicare. and so this figures very well, because medicare and entitlement programs are now grabbing some of the headlines when it comes to these issues and this gap that we see between both sides when it comes to the debt ceiling and to the deficit. the president said he's willing to discuss, we're hearing, raising the medicare eligibility age to 67. not exactly popular with his party. but if there were changes like that, do you think that there could be a little bit more give for certain areas on republican side? >> well, sure. i mean, we think that we need to get spending under control. our positions are really simple.
for every dollar of debt limit increase the president is asking for, we should cut more than a dollar for spending. the whole goal being to get this debt under control. we have a debt crisis coming. it's hitting not just our country but countries around the world. we want to get ahead of it. we don't want to be raising taxes in this kind of an economy. it's a really ugly economy. when you have a huge tax increase schedule to start hitting this economy in about a year and a half we don't want to add to that burden. the hearing today is to highlight the fact that the president, with his health care law, has a new board of 15 bureaucrats that will start cutting medicare 2013. we think this will damage medicare's services to seniors. it takes power away from congress, and gives it to the president's new board of advisers, who can, without congressional assent, start cutting medicare by 2013, and we think we ought to do more important medicare structural reforms that go through congress, not someone unelected board of bureaucrats. more to the point, though, we've got to get spending under control, because the debt right now is not just a threat to our
children and grandchildren, it is a current threat to our economy today, putting a huge shadow over our economy today, making it harder for businesses to create jobs. >> well, and to that point, if the goal is, in fact, to get debt under control, looking at some of the proposals here, we know republicans are opposed to raising taxes. you reiterate that yourself this morning. but there was a little bit of an open door over the weekend when it came to the idea of closing tax loopholes. >> absolutely. >> in the interest of the goal being to get debt under control, rather than putting that money into lower corporate tax rates, what about putting some of that towards deficit reduction? >> well, because we don't want to raise -- that means you're raising tax rates on job creators. so, we have all along -- our budget calls for getting rid of tax loop holes, especially corporate tax loop holes in exchange for lowering tax rates. here's the problem we have with this economy, it's a global economy, is we are already taxing our job creators and our businesses more than our foreign competitors are taxing theirs.
we don't want to go farther down that path. we want to make sure that america's job producers, our employers, are not put at a huge competitive disadvantage. and right now they're paying higher tax rates. >> although as we have seen a lot of -- sir, a lot of companies sitting on a ton of money. you and i discussed this at the town hall here on cbs about a month ago. and they're still not hiring. so, there is that issue. let me ask you real quickly, though, we also discussed at the town hall that a lot of this has come down recently to politics. how far republicans are willing to go, at potentially risking votes when it comes to the plan that you want to see passed. would you give up votes for that? what's more important? >> well, i already passed the plan, our budget. so we've already passed our budget. we've put our ideas on the table. we proposed over $6 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years. we propose a plan that actually balanced the budget, reforms the ebb tire tax code by getting rid of all the loopholes to grow the economy, and take off our deficit. so we've put a plan out there, and passed it. the president has yet to submit
an actual plan that actually fixes this budget problem, and it's been over 800 days since the senate tried to pass a budget. we put plans on the table, erica. in the interest of getting things done around here, we have moderated our spending cut appetite to get through this moment, and all we're simply saying now is, look, for every dollar the president wants to increase the borrowing, let's cut more than a dollar's worth of spending. >> right. >> to get the deficit on the right path. >> we're going to have to leave it there, because we are cutting into our time. congressman paul ryan, thanks for coming on. >> take care. >> and just a programming note for you. president obama will speak today with "cbs evening news" anchor scott pelley. you can catch that interview tonight on the "cbs evening news." >> all right. good news here. guess whose birthday is today? >> big "g." >> that's right, jeff glor at the news desk. >> happy birthday. >> that is very nice. unexpected surprise. >> chris baked a cake. >> wow. >> get ready. >> after the show. good morning.
we begin here now with an assassination in afghanistan. the powerful half-brother of afghan president hamid karzai was murdered this morning. officials say that ahmed wali karzai was shot to death by one of his own bodyguards at his home in kandahar. cbs news correspondent mandy clark is there. >> god willing there will be an answer of pain and suffering on the people, and peace and security will be implemented in our country so that no other afghan family will go through such pains that we all have suffered. >> reporter: ahmed wali karzai was a controversial figure. he was widely seen as the de facto governor of kandahar province, giving orders to public officials behind the scenes, but more importantly in this society, solving tribal disputes. over the years there were persistent reports that he was involved in drug trafficking. in an interview last year with cbs news, he dismissed those allegations.
>> no one came up with any proof that i am involved in any illegal activity. >> reporter: the security situation here is mixed. the taliban do not operate freely in the city, but have launched occasional spectacular attacks, and frequent targeted assassinations of government officials. in may of this year they attacked the governor's palace and other key locations around the city. the battle lasted two days before security forces took control. we're being told that the killing was a personal dispute, and not an insurgent attack. but the taliban's already claimed responsibility, saying it's one of their biggest successes to date. jeff? >> all right, mandy clark in hand har, afghanistan. mandy, thank you very much. in london this morning, wikileaks founder julian assange appeared in court for a two-day hearing. assange is appealing a british ruling that he should be sent back to sweden to answer questions over two rape charges. assange is also worried sweden
might send him to the u.s. to face charges over the release of classified documents. the texas baseball fan who fell to his death at a game last week has now been laid to rest. hundreds turned out for the funeral of shannon stone yesterday. stone was a firefighter, husband and father. with his young son at a rangers game last thursday, he reached for a ball tossed to the stands, lost his balance and fell. and it almost happened again last night at the all-star game home run derby in phoenix. watch the upper right-hand corner of your screen here. a guy dangling off a railing. he'd been standing on a table during the derby trying to catch a ball. not smart. almost went over, luckily his brother and others were there to pull him to safety. so pretty incredible pictures. by the way, as for the home run derby, a very special moment last night, family affair for yankee robinson cano. with his father pitching to him, cano blasted 32 homers to win, including a record 12 in the final round. he wins the all-star home run
derby. very nice. 14 minutes past the hour. marysol castro has our first check of weather. mary, good morning. >> good morning. rob, he did it for you on your birthday. >> how nice of him. >> good morning, everyone at home. we'll go straight to the videotape and show you an unusual storm. it's called el derecho which means straight in spanish. this is just outside of chicago. 80-mile-per-hour wind gusts. 300 reports of wind damage. a lot of the same is expected for today. here you can see the severe weather all the way from cheyenne to the mid-atlantic states. we're looking at gusty winds, really from raleigh to cheyenne. cheyenne is really the one area that we're keeping an eye on specifically for tornadoes.
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funeral services will be held in southern california today for former first lady betty ford who died on friday at age 93. it is a private funeral, but there will be some very public figures in attendance, including first lady michelle obama, nancy reagan, former president george w. bush and also former president bill and secretary of state hillary clinton.
cbs news correspondent bill whitaker is in palm desert, california, this morning. bill, good morning. >> good morning, erica. betty ford's funeral will be held here at saint margaret's episcopal church. it is the church she and her husband, president gerald ford, attended, and the church where the former president's funeral also was held. at betty ford's request, this will be a bipartisan affair. betty ford brought people together in life and so in death. people from across the political spectrum are coming to pay their last respects. rosalynn carter, wife of president jimmy carter, will give a eulogy. what was it about betty ford that made her so beloved? >> i think, bill, at its core it was the hope that she brought to millions of people. >> reporter: she endeared herself to the nation, not just by being a good wife, which she was. but by being a politician's wife who spoke her mind. she supported the equal rights
amendment, and the woman's right to choose abortion. at a time when people spoke of cancer in hushed tones, betty ford, using her voice as the first lady, spoke out. >> she stood up, and said, i have breast cancer. and i'm going to beat it. >> reporter: but perhaps her greatest legacy came from her greatest pain. admitting she was addicted to alcohol and pain pills. in 1982 she opened the betty ford clinic near palm springs, in california, and since then has helped 96,000 people with their addictions. >> she really changed the face of addiction, didn't she? >> she did. she changed because it was like, this woman is an alcoholic addict. and she didn't fit the image. >> reporter: her lasting image is that of the first lady with the common touch. and that is what people are coming to this church today to remember and celebrate. >> and we'll be right back. this is "the early show" on cbs.
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welcome back to "the early show." harry potter fans were hoping this day would never come. the last harry potter movie is here. and it had its u.s. debut yesterday here in new york. we're going to take you to the celebrity-filled red carpet event, and welcome back to "the early show." i'm chris wragge along with erica hill. you probably, if you've seen the highlights of that premiere. my colleague here was restrained by police. >> i was wearing my gryffindor outfit. >> huge, huge fan, and she just kind of came in on her broom. they got her. >> kind of like every morning when i get here, fly in on my broom, yeah. >> i didn't say it. >> jeff glor is at the news desk with another look at our top headlines this morning. >> i didn't say it either.
good morning, guys. good morning to everyone at home. in our news here a day after a violent storm near chicago, nearly 400,000 homes remain without power today. that storm knocked out trees and power lines throughout northeastern illinois. at one point nearly 900,000 customers were blacked out. in afghanistan today, the powerful half-brother of president hamid karzai was killed. ahmed wali karzai was shot by one of his own bodyguards at his home in kandahar. the taliban claimed responsibility. in washington, lawmaker also return to the white house for a third straight day, still trying to work out a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling. president obama says they'll meet every day until an agreement is reached. and the man accused of breaking into david letterman's late show theater says he doesn't remember it. security video from sunday shows the man identified as james whittemore attacking the lobby of the ed sullivan theater here in new york. there it is. his lawyer says he was drunk.
apparently very. well, there are new allegations in the phone hacking scandal in britain. tabloid reporters are accused of targeting the royal flame and a former prime minister and there are questions about why a more thorough investigation was not done. cbs news correspondent elizabeth palmer is in london with more for us today. good morning, elizabeth. >> good morning, chris. well, specifically britain wants to know why the first investigation into the news of the world hacking was shut down
after just two people were arrested. which now appears to have been just the tip of the iceberg. senior police officers are being grilled this morning by a government committee. in the hot seat the deputy head of london's police force, john yates, who in 2009 refused to reopen an investigation into the news of the world. a decision he now admits was wrong. >> i would have made different decisions. >> reporter: yesterday "the guardian" newspaper reported there was evidence "the news of the world" had tried to buy a confidential list of the royal familiar lip's phone numbers from some of the police officers detailed to protect them. and that police were selling information on the royal's movements. new allegations now widely reported suggest there were dirty tricks going on not just at the "news of the world" but also at "the sun" and "the sunday times," both owned by rupert murdoch. former prime minister gordon brown believes some of his bank account details were illegally obtained by the "sunday times."
>> "the sunday times" appear to have got access to my account. they got access to my legal files. but i'm shocked. i'm generally shocked to find that this happened because of the leads. >> reporter: he was shattered to learn that the sun was going public with the news that his baby son had cystic fibrosis. something the family had kept strictly confidential. the person who told the browns that "the sun" would run a story on their baby's illness was rebecca brooks. at the time the editor of the sun newspaper, she's now rupert murdoch's british ceo and is herself being questioned by police. john yates, the officer you saw earlier on in my report, has just told the committee that he's 99% sure his phone was hacked, which shows that police investigating the news of the world were themselves not immune. chris? >> i'll tell you, this story grows more and more every day. cbs' elizabeth palmer for us in london. elizabeth, thank you very much.
like i said, there's so much more to talk about. we're joined now by steve hewlett who is a media analyst in london for us. good to have you here with us this morning. according to elizabeth's report there are claims the former prime minister gordon brown, the queen both victims of this hacking and rupert murdoch's newspapers. what's the latest on both sides of this story? >> it's going from bad to worse. in fairness, the latest revolution about gordon brown are not hacking, which is about accessing -- illegally accessing voice mailboxes on mobile phones. this is a result of what's known as blaging. it's information detained by deception. sometimes illegally, sometimes not. the information in 2006, in fairness we pointed out that almost every uk newspaper, including the observer, and the guardian media group, that they'd all been at it securing the services of private detectives who did this kind of work. in fairness there is also a public interest defense for blaging, and you might argue that if gordon -- if the sunday times had reason to believe that
gordon brown was involved as chancellor of the exchequer in a dodgy deal they may have been a public interest defense to find out. because of the access to his son's medical records that, of course, -- >> especially with rebecca brooks who is really on the hot seat right now and under fire seemed to be supported by rupert murdoch at this point. when she's calling the prime minister at this point and saying that, look, we've got this information on your son, who's got cystic fibrosis, how much heat is on her? what's going to happen with her? >> there's a huge amount of heat on her not least because as long as rupert murdoch supports her, in the public realm she has zero credibility. she was editor of the news of the world at the time and she claims to have known nothing about it. let's take it at her word. nevertheless on her watch her journalists were hacking the mailboxes of missing 13-year-old teenager who ends up to have sadly been murd ired. all things are happening and she's done nothing about it. on her watch it happened. in public terms, she lacks credibility almost completely, and along with it, he backs her
the more his own credibility is leeching away. you can see that the whole thing is now spiraling out of rupert murdoch's control. it's really unusual to see rupert murdoch not in control of events. >> now this is kind of reaching the sun, the sun times, also his satellite tv deal with sky tv there. let me ask you about this, the original investigation, which again elizabeth palmer mentioned back in 2006, really didn't go far enough because now we're finding out, i'll let you tell the story, but what was going on with the investigators that were actually doing the investigating? >> well, nobody knows. strictly speaking, why they didn't pursue it. but they claimed repeatedly, the policemen did, to have pursued it thoroughly and came to the conclusion that, at one point commander yates said to a committee, count the number of victims on the fingers of two hands. that's roughly ten. now we know that conservatively estimated, the number of victims is 4,000 plus. nobody really knows why that happened. hopefully we'll find out. but the suspicion is, because look at this morning's "new york times," they say, that the top
five officers involved in the hacking inquiry itself were themselves being hacked. >> unbelievable. unbelievable. steve, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us this morning. we look forward to talking with you again. this story is not going away. thanks so much. coming up next, a baby undergoes life-saving surgery while still partly in her mother's woman. a fascinating look at's very spec [ female announcer ] now you can apply sunblock
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in this morning's "healthwatch" a truly special delivery. a rare birth defect almost dashed the hopes of one texas couple for a healthy baby girl. but a complex surgical procedure saved the baby's life. medical correspondent dr. jennifer ashton has the details. as anob/gyn, too, this is your special city. you understand the risks. >> this is an incredible story. before taking her first breath little alejandra underwent what's technically known as an ex-uterointrapartum treatment or exit for short, which helps babies with life threatening conditions. 19 weeks into her second pregnancy, samantha rodriguez received devastating news.
during a routine ultrasound doctors discovered a growing mass in her baby's lung. >> it would have been impossible for her to breathe. i was hysterical. i was, you know, they had to pull me out of the waiting room because people were staring at me. >> reporter: fetal specialists at texas children's hospital recommended a rare delivery option called exit, which operates on the baby while it's partially inside the mother's womb. >> an exciit procedure is a special identified type of procedure done at the time of cesarean section. after the uterine incision is made the infant is delivered only to the level of the abdomen. this allows any type of surgery to be performed on the infant and actually allows them to secure the airway. >> even though it was a bigger risk, we just -- we just had to gamble and take the chance. but we were terrified the entire time. >> reporter: on april 25th, doctors removed the mass from the baby's left lung while she was still attached to her mother's placenta and umbilical
cord, her life line, giving her oxygen and keeping her warm. after the five-hour exit procedure, alejandra finally entered the world. >> she's very much is our miracle baby. they expected her to be hospitalized for at least two months. and she was out in eleven days. i mean, that's a miracle. it just blew everybody's mind that she was just so strong, and so willing to live. >> reporter: doctors say her body will continue to fill in the lung tissue that didn't grow during the pregnancy. and she will be able to breathe and play like any other baby. >> when i see her sleeping, and i see her just sitting there and making the cutest faces and smiling, it really just -- it pulls on my heartstrings. i'm so proud of her. i just love her so much. i don't know what we would do without her now. >> less than 100 of these open fetal procedures are done every year. >> it's beautiful. it sounds and looks a little bit risky, because it almost seems
like you start a c-section and you stop and then you continue with it. >> it is risky. but it's not as risky as an uncontrolled delivery and emergency surgery. so really, three big differences here when you compare it to a standard c-section. time. normally when we do a c-section we can have the baby out in seconds. this operation, as we heard, takes hours, before then the baby was born. also, type of an es 2450esh yeah. the goal in the c-section is to keep the baby awake and the mother calm, with good anesthesia so that the anesthesia doesn't go to the baby. in this case you want that anesthesia to the baby because you don't want the baby moving. in blood loss, in a c-section you want to keep the uterus contracted so you don't lose a lot of blood. this is the opposite. it's incredible. >> nice to have you with us. we'll be right back. >> "cbs healthwatch" sponsored by v-8 v-fusion juice. vegetable and fruit juice that just tastes like fruit.
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so fresh is always at your fingertips. and you'll both get a cottonelle fresh reward. finally, there's a choice for my patients with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, or afib, that's not caused by a heart valve problem. today we have pradaxa to reduce the risk of a stroke caused by a clot. in a clinical trial, pradaxa 150 mg reduced stroke risk 35% more than warfarin. and with pradaxa, there's no need for those regular blood tests. pradaxa is progress. pradaxa can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bleeding. don't take pradaxa if you have abnormal bleeding, and seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. pradaxa may increase your bleeding risk if you're 75 or older, have kidney problems or a bleeding condition, like stomach ulcers. or if you take aspirin products, nsaids, or blood thinners. tell your doctor about all medicines you take, any planned medical or dental procedures, and don't stop taking pradaxa without your doctor's approval,
as stopping may increase your stroke risk. other side effects include indigestion, stomach pain, upset, or burning. if you have afib not caused by a heart valve problem, ask your doctor if pradaxa can reduce your risk of a stroke. it was a bewitching night here in new york city, where the cast turned out for the u.s.
premiere of "harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2." it is the final movie in the series and thousands of fans were on hand to say farewell. cbs news correspondent manuel gallegus was there, as well. >> reporter: cheers and screams for daniel radcliffe at the u.s. premiere of the final harry potter. what will he miss most about harry? the action. >> bursting out of a lake surrounded by a ring of fire. or falling down a 40 foot roof. like, that's fun. that stuff's crazy and mad and fun. and you don't really get to do it that often. i will miss that. >> reporter: thousands of fans camped out, some for days, to get just a glimpse of radcliffe, emma watson, or rupert grint, the likable stars who are forever part of their childhood. >> we wanted everyone to know that we were insane and hard core. >> reporter: by movie standards, harry potter is a phenomenon, the biggest franchise in hollywood history. more than $2 billion in ticket sales here in the u.s. for the first seven movies. remarkably, the original cast stayed to the till the end.
>> it's kind of like an unspoken bond between us all, i think. because we've come through this all together. we're very lucky to have that. >> reporter: for a decade fans never lost interest. it's hard to say good-bye. >> very bittersweet. i might start crying. >> reporter: for the young actors themselves, it's a new beginning. >> it's exciting. i'm going to go traveling after i'm done with this. >> reporter: where are you going? >> you know what? i'm not even sure yet. >> i mean, i'll also miss the crew, the cast, you know, everything about what was my day-to-day life for ten years. >> reporter: they are no longer those wide-eyed kids who entered hogwarts so long ago. manuel gallegus, cbs news, new york. >> not to sound hallow but those kids are so rich. >> harry potter's been very good to them. >> oh, man. >> keep reading for many years to come. we'll have more here on "the early show." lots of sun, some rain and that's how they get this big and beautiful.
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welcome back to "the early show." top of the hour. looks a little hazy out there in new york city. and a lot of the country may be seeing that same picture outside their window. hot, hazy and humid. what a day. i'm erica hill along with chris wragge this morning. we want to tell you this morning, the heat we'll talk about a little bit later today, later in the show, there's an exchange program for high school students, a culture exchange. maybe your child received a letter from this exchange. it's called people-to-people. a group founded by president eisenhower in 1956. it's now a nonprofit, which is bringing run by his granddaughter. >> from the outside sounds like a terrific community for young people. last year more than 26,000
middle and high school students went on people-to-people trips to 45 different countries after getting invitations to participate. but critics charge the organization with deceptive marketing practices. even fraud. and cbs news investigative report sharyl attkisson checked it all out. >> reporter: who wouldn't feel honored to get an invitation for a people to people trip. after all, the invitation bears president eisenhower's name. the names of most every president since, and the teacher of the year logo. and students may even get a nudge of encouragement from an elected official. this letter bears the signature of virginia state senator jill vogel. vogel went on a people to people trip to the soviet union when she was in high school in 1986. >> on many levels it was really an extraordinary experience. >> reporter: a two to three-week people to people trip, the invitation promises, will set middle and high school students apart on college applications and in consideration for other honors. many parents scrape, even fund-raise to get the fee for the trip, $5,000 to $8,000 per child. they believe their kids won an
honor from a nonprofit run by president eisenhower's granddaughter. but listen to the experience of steve and jennifer barbie. the barbie's daughter caitlin got invited on a people to people trip this summer with other high school students from tennessee. but caitlin died back in 1996, when she was 10 days old. we found the same story in iowa. a boy supposedly recommended for the honor of a people to people trip through his outstanding middle school achievements. impossible said the mom, her son died at 7 weeks of age in 1993. iowa attorney general tom miller has investigated the complaints about the program's marketing twice, in 2006, and just last december. >> it seems to be sort of marketing these trips based on people receiving an honor or earning it. that wasn't the case. it wasn't an honor. it was more of a commercial solicitation to take the trip. >> reporter: letters promoting the summer trips appear to come from people to people. but we found they're actually from a for-profit travel agency.
one that's paid millions of dollars in licensing fees for exclusive use of the people to people name. that travel agency is ambassadors group. but you won't see their group on the invitation letters. ceo jeff thomas reportedly earned $1.4 million last year, and the local better business bureau revoked ambassadors accreditation, in part because of the iowa attorney general's complaint. the company says it's working cooperatively with the better business bureau and expects that our previous high ranking should be restored. we wanted to talk to jeff thomas and people to people ceo mary jean eisenhower. but when we asked for interviews both declined to talk on camera. ambassador's lawyers accused us of conducting a slanted, inaccurate, and hostile investigation. and remember that letter some would-be travelers got from virginia state senator vogel? >> it was a letter that clearly, you know, forged my signature. >> reporter: you didn't write the letter? you didn't sign that letter? and you didn't authorize that
letter? >> no. >> reporter: vogel, an ethics attorney who did make that people to people trip in high school years ago, says she was outraged to discover a letter on people to people stegsery written in her voice in first person, in her name. it encourage students to embrace the opportunity. you would never have let your name -- >> no. >> reporter: you would never have agreed to let your name be used like this? >> no. that would leave clearly an impression that somehow either i had a direct association with them or that i was a spokesperson on their half or i had some formal connection to them. >> reporter: and that's not true? >> absolutely none. none at all. >> reporter: ambassadors group told us, quote, we take full responsibility for the misunderstanding with senator vogel and deeply regret any concerns this has caused her. under pressure from the iowa attorney general, ambassadors agreed to alter its marketing practices and pay $50,000 to the state's consumer fraud fund. ambassadors told us the agreement was voluntary, to alleviate any future concerns. yet thousands of children traveling this summer may have little idea the trip is not the
honor they think it is. sharyl attkisson, cbs news, washington. >> one thing is for sure, it will cause parents to definitely take pause and review those letters, i guess a little more thoroughly. >> yes, that is for sure. >> incredible. let's move on right now. meanwhile it's back to 1600 pennsylvania avenue today for democratic and republican lawmakers. as efforts continue to beat the clock and come up with a debt ceiling deal. cbs news congressional correspondent nancy cordes has the latest now from capitol hill. good morning. are the sides making any progress since yesterday? >> no indications of progress right now, chris. the tone of those meetings at the white house has been tense. we've been told of some pretty snippy exchanges, now that speaker boehner has rejected the president's proposal for a big $4 trillion package of spending cuts, and tax increases. the president has now told both sides to go back and come to him with a package that can pass both the republican-led house, and the democratically controlled senate. but when republicans came to him
yesterday, with a host of medicare cuts that they thought could help get to the $2.5 trillion cut number that everyone's now working towards, he rejected it. he said that that did not meet his criteria for shared sacrifice. he continues to maintain that you can't just cut spending. you have to increase some taxes on the wealthy, as well. here's what he had to say. >> what we have said is, as part of a broader package, we should have revenues and the best place to get those revenues are from folks like me, who have been extraordinarily fortunate, and that millionaires and billionaires can afford to pay a little bit more, going back to the bush tax rates. >> our disagreement with the president is not about closing loop holes. none of us are fond of loop holes. our disagreement is over the idea of raising taxes on the very people that we're asking to create jobs in our country. >> the two sides have vowed to keep meeting every day. but time is running out, and the
president has said explicitly, he will not pass some 30-day or 60-day extension of the debt limit. chris? >> all right, nancy. you talk about meeting each and every day. but where is the middle ground here? >> that's a great question, chris. and we asked republicans yesterday, you know, democrats say that they're willing to give on some spending cut cuts. where are you willing to compromise? majority leader eric cantor, the number two republican in the house, had a very interesting response. he said the very fact that we're even willing to vote to raise the debt limit is our definition of compromise. now, i don't think he really means that. that was more of a talking point. i don't think the republicans want to see the government default. but it does show how strongly dug in they are at this point. >> all right, nancy cordes, thank you so much. good talking with you. earlier this morning i spoke with former treasury secretary and harvard university producer dr. lawrence summers. i asked him why it's so critical to reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling by that august 2nd deadline. >> not paying the visa bill is
not an option that we have. the united states doesn't have the option of not paying its debt. nobody should be using that as a basis for a game of chicken. >> what is your economic forecast for this country, should a deal not get done by august 2? >> the fall of 2008. the fall of 2008. financial armageddon of a kind that we saw. >> the president said a deal will get done, he did talk about yesterday, one of the take aways is he did say a deal will get done. >> i think it will. winston churchill said something wise about the united states. he said we always do the right thing. but only after exhausting the alternatives. so it may come to the wire but i think we will see a deal. >> that was former treasury secretary lawrence summers. now a programming note for you here, president obama will speak today with "cbs evening news" anchor scott pelley and that interview will air tonight on the "cbs evening news." so, tune in for that.
>> do want to check in now with jeff glor with a check of the headlines on this, his birthday. >> enough mention. >> you've got to milk it. >> i'm really milking it. >> it's your two hours. >> thank you very much. good morning, guys. this morning crews are working to restore power to nearly 400,000 customers in the chicago area. but the process could take days. they're out of power now, after a violent storm ripped through the region yesterday, with winds up to 75 miles an hour. and at its height that power outage affected nearly 900,000 customers. the same system hit southern wisconsin with heavy rain and 60-mile-per-hour winds. about 12,000 homes lost power there. in southern maine, a truck driver hauling trash was killed when he slammed into an amtrak train yesterday. several train passengers were hurt. and in new york, a commuter train derailed underground shortly after leaving grand central terminal yesterday. 600 passengers were stuck for an hour and a half. and rush hour delays went on for much longer. in syria this morning, police have tightened security
around the u.s., and french embassies. supporters of syria's president bashar assad scaled the u.s. embassy walls and broke windows yesterday. marine guards stopped them. nobody was hurt. three people, though, were hurt during an attack on the french embassy. the hacker group called anonymous has struck again. this time the target was a major u.s. defense contractor booz allen hamilton. tens of thousands of encrypted passwords were stolen. the information they posted online, the passwords might allow access to military e-mail accounts. wikileaks founder julian assange was in court in london this morning. the start of a two-day hearing on assange's effort to avoid being extradited to sweden to face questioning in two alleged rape cases. assange is also worried sweden might send him to the u.s. to face possible charges for the wikileaks release of classified documents. in southern afghanistan, the half-brother of afghan president hamid karzai was assassinated today. the body of ahmed wali karzai
was taken to a hospital in kandahar. the killer's identity has been disputed but may have been one of karzai's bodyguards. karzai was one of the most powerful men in afghanistan. often accused of corruption and drug trafficking. a report out this morning describes a cia operation right out of a spy novel. "new york times" says it happened in pakistan before osama bin laden was killed. the cia set up a fake vaccination program in the town where it thought bin laden was hiding. the idea was to secure a dna sample from bin laden, or a family member. no dna was obtained. reportedly but the pakistani doctor who ran that program has now been arrested. as the tenth anniversary of 9/11 gets closer, public interest in the world trade center site is now surging. tickets for the site's new memorial were made available on monday and the online researchation system nearly crashed because of all the traffic. sean hennessy of our new york station ccbs-tv has more.
>> reporter: ever since the 9/11 terror attacks the world trade center site has stood apart. a seemingly perpetual construction site. off limits and unwelcoming to the public. but that will all change this september when people will finally be allowed on the now hallowed ground where the towers once stood. after ten years, finally, a fitting memorial to the 2,983 victims of the attack, including those who died at the pentagon, aboard united flight 93, and the six who perished in the 1993 trade center bombings. >> because so many families never got any human remains returned to them, this really is their final place and has been their final place to say good-bye. >> usa! usa! >> reporter: with the death of osama bin laden, the tenth anniversary of the attacks has taken on new meaning. public interest is so strong that nearly 30,000 tickets were distributed free of charge the first day alone. >> with such a large turnout today, i mean it makes me feel like everybody's set on 9/11,
nover forget. and i think america hasn't forgotten. >> reporter: the centerpiece of the memorial will be the massive reflecting pools that mark the tower's original footprints. surrounding them the victims' names etched in bronze. the site will open to the public on september 12th. but on the anniversary, only to those who lost a loved one. >> we come back here on september 11th. you get a feeling this is a place where he breathed his last brett. this is where his soul went up to heaven. and i think you get a sudden feeling of, i'm some place special. >> reporter: for cbs news sean hennessy, new york. finally here, sergeant scott moore is a brave marine in more ways than one. from afghanistan, he posted a video online asking actress mila kunis out on a date. >> hi, mila, you can call me scott. just want to take a moment out of my day to ask you to the marine corps ball on november 8th, greenville, north carolina, with yours truly. so take a second, think about it, get back to me.
>> interesting note, she did take a second to think about it, and kunis said yes. >> yes, nice. my favorite story. >> good stuff. marysol castro's favorite story of the day. >> yeah. >> my favorite weather cast of the day coming up right here. >> absolutely. good morning, as we take a look at the national picture 20 states experiencing triple digit heat. that will be the trend for at least the next 24 hours. we're also looking at a line of severe weather that stretches from the central plains all the way over to the mid-atlantic. in the desert southwest, it will fall into monsoon season. we are going to get some welcome rain. these temperatures right on mark although we are concerned with some flooding, because although it's not a whole lot of rain the ground is so incredibly dry it's going to take a long time for it to really seep in. keeping an eye on this part of the country fo
>> this weather report sponsored by sargento. taste the real difference. >> thanks so much. that's your latest weather. now here's erica. >> mary, thanks. just ahead, will catherine greig get out on bail? she helped whitey bulger elude the law for 16 years. now she says she wants out of jail. so what will happen? stay with us. you're watching "the early show" on cbs. (announcer) anxious about quitting cold turkey?
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was on the run with bulger for the entire 16 years he eluded police. cbs news correspondent elaine quijano has more from boston. >> reporter: catherine greig sat silently in a blue prison jumpsuit, as prosecutors began making their case that she should not be freed on bail. the 60-year-old is charged with harboring a fugitive. notorious boston crime boss james "whitey" bulger, who's facing 19 counts of murder. donald stern was the u.s. attorney in boston when bulger disappeared in 1994, and says greig could help fill in critical gaps about bulger's life on the run. >> she clearly had some information. it may be as basic as, what did you do? where did you go? where did the money come from? just by living with him for those 16 years, she has information which i think law enforcement would find quite useful. >> reporter: in court, prosecutors called an fbi special agent to the stand. he testified that greig had helped bulger make a fake i.d.
that the pair hid out in grand isle, louisiana, and that greig gave bulger prepaid calling phone cards that he used at pay phones. and the agent placed this surveillance video, showing greig picking up prescriptions at a california pharmacy. medication, he said, were for bulger and greig. also in the courtroom was greig's twin sister margaret. if freed on bail, greig wants to live with her in boston. prosecutors oppose that. court is set to resume on wednesday. and it could be an emotional session. that's when prosecutors are expected to call family members of james "whitey" bulger's alleged victims to testify. elaine quijano, cbs news, boston. >> and we'll be right back. you're watching "the early show" >> and we'll be right back. you're watching "the early show" on cbs. ng. crispy bacon, rich cheddar cheese and creamy ranch dressing. not even the end of the world will make you put it down. get it before it's gone. and see "transformers: dark of the moon" now in theaters.
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and welcome back to "the early show." bottom of the hour. i'm chris wragge along with erica hill. >> hi. >> how are you? >> i'm all right. yourself? fasten your belt. >> we're doing better than the bats this morning. you may find them a little creepy. you might be worried they're going to, you know, collect in your hair. here's the thing.
bats, many people will tell you, are misunderstood. they're incredibly helpful. they eat up to half their body weight in insects every single night. that is vital to farmers. but here's the big issue. there is something out there that's killing them off by the millions. scientists are trying to save the flying bug eaters. >> yeah. >> but it's just very difficult problem that they're trying to tackle. and it's really not easy to do. >> great crime fighters, as well. kidding. all right on a serious note, you're going to remember that horrific discovery, at least ten bodies on new york's long island discovered late last year. tonight on cbs "48 hours mystery" reveals exclusive new details on the ongoing investigation into a suspected serial killer in the area. of course, erin moriarity now has a preview. >> my sister was running along the road. >> reporter: in the early morning hours of may 1st, 2010, shannon gilbert, a 23-year-old escort, disappeared in the dark shadows of a gated community in
oak beach, long island. shannon's sister sherrie said shannon made a panicked call to 911. >> she felt like she was in fear of her life that night. that was it. she just disappeared into the night. >> reporter: six months later, the search for shannon led to a gruesome discovery. four female victims -- >> bodies were dumped. >> in a secluded stretch of beach. >> reporter: the bodies of four young women were found wrapped in burlap along a lonely strip of highway on long island. >> we could have a serial killer. >> reporter: one by one, the bodies were identified. shannon gilbert was not one of them. but like shannon, all the victims worked as online escorts. and they all went missing while going to meet clients. tim's 24-year-old daughter melissa was last seen in new york city more than a year and a half earlier. >> my fiance and i were actually watching, they were televising where they found the bodies, and
we just looked at each other and we started crying, and we had a sinking feeling that it was her. >> reporter: now, it is one of the largest criminal investigations in long island's history. but when melissa bartholemie even the family's attorney, stephen cohen, could not get the nypd to take notice. >> i contacted them, and they said, she's a hooker. she's a prostitute. she's an escort. we're not going to assign a detective to this. >> reporter: about a week after melissa disappeared, her 15-year-old sister amanda, shown from behind to protect her identity, got a call from melissa's phone. >> and when amanda answered the phone, you know, she was so excited, oh, my god, melissa's finally calling me, and then there's a guy on the other end. >> and this voice is saying, oh, this isn't melissa. and he was soft-spoken. and had a very controlled, and
comfortable manner of speech, which made his horrific messages all the more devastating. and he began to toy with her. and for the very first time, she heard the voice of the killer. >> all i can say is, he's sick. and he's going to make a mistake. and we're going to catch him. >> and erin moriarity joins us now. good morning, erin. >> good morning. we're doing this story now, because there is a sense of urgency. you know, serial killers like this don't usually stop on their own. they have to be stopped. and i think it's important for people, if they know something, to talk about it. >> these phone calls, kind of these taunting phone calls almost, have investigators learned anything more about this, enough to glean anything from these calls? >> investigators say that they believe that he is a white man. that he's probably between the ages of like late 20s, 30s.
we know he's persuasive. we know he's charming. and from -- from interviewing so many of the serial killers in the past, he's probably someone who's kind of hiding in plain sight. >> yeah. ten bodies now total. are they under i guess the -- it's the same person? i know there was, there's so much talk with every body they found, that maybe this could be the work of a number of different people. but are they working -- >> it turns out it looks like, as hard as this is to believe, that that stretch of beach might just be a dumping ground for more than one killer. we know four of the bodies are connected with one killer. possibly a fifth. there was another escort, but that would mean the serial killer started killing back in 2003. >> yeah. >> the others, there's an asian male, there's a baby, there's a bag of bones. those are probably, you know, bodies that were dumped by somebody else. so, we're talking about more than one killer. >> incredible. all right, erin, thanks so much. good to see you here this morning. you can catch "48 hours mystery," the long island serial killer, tonight here on cbs at
10:00, 9:00 central. and erin will be on facebook during and after the show along with family members of two of the victims. you can tune in, you can go to the "48 hours mystery" facebook page. we highly recommend you do that. now here's jeff glor at the news desk once again. >> chris, good morning to you. good morning, everyone at home. more revelations this morning in britain's phone hacking scandal. former prime minister gordon brown told the bbc that the "sun" tabloid hired criminals to obtain information that brown's infant son had cystic fibrosis. brown also accused "the sunday times" of hacking into his bank and tax records. both papers are owned by rupert murdoch. now a member of parliament wants murdoch and one of his top executives rebecca brooks to answer questions about that scandal. debt reduction talks resume for a third straight day this afternoon at the white house. so far the talks remain deadlocked with the two sides far apart on taxes and spending. this morning, congressman paul ryan told erica the u.s. businesses are already trailing foreign competitors. >> we are already taxing our job
creators and our businesses more than our foreign competitors are taxing theirs. we don't want to go farther down that path. we want to make sure that america's job producers, our employers, are not put at a huge competitive disadvantage. >> president obama said he'd reject any stopgap short-term measure. he's proposing a long-term debt reduction bill. and former treasury secretary lawrence summers told chris that's a good idea. >> he's tried to put more on the table, tried to have a larger program. that would be better. but what's most important is that the cloud of a possible, even conceivable, even discussable default by the united states be removed. >> if a deal isn't reached by the august 2nd deadline the u.s. could default on its loans. in orbit this morning, a space walk at the international space station. today they used a new method of pre-breathing, an exercise while
donning their suits. that is designed to shorten prep time. and a lawyer for 22-year-old james whittemore says shockingly he was drunk sunday when he broke into david letterman's late night studio. he says he doesn't remember it. surveillance video from sunday showed a man police say was whittemore trashing the ed sullivan theater lobby. letterman joked about it on last night's show. >> this is the "late show" not just a talk show, ladies and gentlemen, this is an active crime scene. >> added that jay leno had an alibi. 38 minutes past the hour. marysol castro. >> how do you not know? >> has our final check. >> he looked like a puppy misbehaving, when his owners are out of the house. >> like a little child. >> not that i would know working with you. i don't care that it's your birthday. good morning, everyone at home. heat is the big story. 22 states experiencing heat advisories. excessive heat warnings. kansas city, st. louis, tulsa and memphis, we're keeping an eye on those cities in particular, because that's where they'll feel the brunt of the
heat. it stays like this in the central plains at least through saturday. the temperatures are in the 90s and the 100s. the heat indices in the 100s. which is absolutely sweltering. where it is not sweltering, the rockies. a new storm system pulls into the pacific northwest. 68 in seattle, 80 in medford. further inland, warmer, missoula 91. 88 in great falls. a pop-up thunderstorm later in the afternoon. in the great lakes that storm from yesterday just pushed on through and left gorgeous temperatures in its wake.
>> thanks so much. that's your latest weather. now over to erica. >> mary, thanks. it's been called the number one crisis affecting mammals in this country. scientists from more than 100 state and federal agencies coordinating their efforts to learn why bats are dying in droves. cbs news correspondent betty nguyen is here with the story. and it turns out a lot of us may actually know something about this. >> oh, yes. it's a trickle-down effect essentially. you notice more bugs this summer? >> yes. i thought it was just me. >> no. everybody is. and if you are, you can blame the bats. or to be more exact blame the fungus that is killing the bats in unprecedented numbers. it is a desperate situation with no solution in sight. bats often get a bad rap. as creepy blood-sucking night creatures. >> but people don't really know the level of importance that they have. in our ecosystem. >> reporter: but farmers like james roby, actually count on them to eat 100 metric tons of crop-damaging bugs every year.
>> that's been very badly damaged by some kind of caterpillar or warm. and that would have been potentially controlled by a bat that would have nailed the moth that would have laid the eggs on this leaf to begin with. >> reporter: that's not happening. because bats are in danger. a sprunk fungus has wiped out a million of them in 18 east coast states. it leaves a fungus on the bats nose, wings and body that eventually leads to starvation. the die-off is so greet and so fast the u.s. department of fish and wildlife has declared bats the number one mammal in crisis in this country. >> it's a female. >> reporter: one type, the little brown bat, is headed for the endangered species list. >> what was really our most common bat three years ago, now we're needing to learn an awful lot more about it in a hurry so we can do all we can to save it. >> reporter: this team from the u.s. and vermont fish and wildlife services is in a race against time. >> could be white nose syndrome.
>> reporter: there is no cure for white nose syndrome and there are no funds to find one. all they can do is research why it's happening. what kind of bat is that? can you tell? getting these bats out of the net can be tricky. even for the experts. >> this is really, really -- >> it's really tangled up in there. >> susi von oettingen is an endangered species specialist for the fire and wildlife services. >> reporter: you see those all over you. aren't they supposed to be eating the mosquitoes. >> i think of mosquitoes to bats as potato chips. can i close it? >> reporter: bagged my first bat. there he goes. oh, he's climbing to the top. you're right, he is trying to get out. hold on, hold on! whoo! i'm afraid this is going to open. these bats are then tagged and weighed. >> 8.1 grams. which is a little bit more than three pennies. >> he's a little feisty thing. >> yes, these little brown bats are rather rambunctious.
>> reporter: one bat is outfitted with a transmitter. >> putting this little small translator on a small animal. so you don't want to weigh it down. >> reporter: by literally carrying the bushden on their backs, the hope is these bats will help scientists figure out how to keep them alive. >> go. there she goes. >> reporter: but for farmers, it might be a little too late. how much time do you have? >> very little time. less than a year. >> reporter: and then what happens? >> it spreads out west and we lose millions and millions of bats. >> reporter: bats contribute an estimated $23 billion annually to the agricultural industry through insect control and pollination. that's money farmers might have to spend on pesticides. >> potentially it could be apocalyptic. because we're talking about a check that's been in place for years that takes care of hundreds of tons of insects. and that problem is going to be very similar to the clouds of locuses. not only is it going to affect our crops but it's going to affect our people.
>> reporter: and that's exactly what these scientists are desperately trying to prevent. one thing they do know is that the fungus thrives in caves where certain species of bats hibernate in the winter. the fungus first appeared five years ago in a cave near albany, new york. the fish and wildlife service thinks hikers unknowingly got the fungus on their gear and then started spreading it. and now it is killing the bat population. >> and they paint a very dire situation in the near-term. so you said there's no cure. they're doing research. but other than that, is there anything they can do in the immediate? >> the only thing they can do right now and what the u.s. fish and wildlife service is doing is closing off certain caves and mines where the bats go in to hibernate so that researchers can get in there and figure out how to prevent this from happening. mainly they need prevention at this point, because as you heard time is of the essence. >> also closing it off, potentially it keeps hikers from going in there and bringing it out. >> and spreading it to other
caves. >> maybe you lose sight of how important bats are. >> right. >> thanks very much. almost kind of like the honey bee. you kind of lose sight -- >> which can mean more pesticides if they can't stop these bats from dying because the insects will continue to eat the crops, which means that more pesticides are going to raise the price of what you're buying in the grocery store. so again that trickle-down effect. >> the cost alone for farmers. >> thank you. >> betty, thanks. just ahead, you may not expect this from the director who gained fame a dozen years ago with "american pie." >> now chris weitz is getting serious with a new film about the struggles of mexican [ man ] did we get anything good?
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russ mitchell is in l.a., the center of latino culture. >> cesar chavez, this is the main artery of east l.a. one of the most active and vibrant streets in all of los angeles. >> reporter: it's no accident that director chris weitz chose these streets for his film "a better life." tens of thousands of imgrants now call this area home. >> this country is a land of dreams. it can be a hard place. a cool place. >> reporter: in the film, a mexican gardener lives quietly and illegally in los angeles, until his truck is stolen. carrying away his dream of a brighter future for his son. >> i don't know what's going to happen to us. >> it's based on a true story. one of our producers had a friend whose gardener had his truck stolen. the friend said, we've got to go
to the police, and the gardener said, you don't understand, i can't go to the police. >> if you're looking down to santiago -- >> reporter: committed to an authentic look and feel, weitz hired a mexican actor largely unknown in the u.s., along with new immigrants, to help him understanded struggles of undocumented workers. >> action! >> i've lived here for 20 years and i really felt i didn't understand the worlds within worlds that exist here. the people that you drive past. >> reporter: while weitz's film does not make a political statement, it's impossible to overlook the timing of its release. around the country, undocumented immigrants continue to seek amnesty, and communities are often bitterly divided over solutions. right now, there are some 50 million hispanics in the u.s., making them america's largest minority group. >> and for people who are, you know, nativists and say we've got to keep these people out, first of all, it's too late. and second of all, these are people who are making this country stronger.
>> reporter: here in downtown l.a., hispanic culture is both preserved, and celebrated. what did you learn about los angeles? while making this movie? >> i learned that the american dream still exists. still being lived by recent immigrants right now. >> so what compels a guy who directed "twilight: new moon" a block fusser that made $700 million to delve into the shadowy world of the undocumented? >> my background is undocumented. my grandmother came here. >> reporter: that grandmother was a famous mexican at actress. >> she was great. but she said she of scared. they were making movies about dracula, and they were shooting at midnight. >> reporter: weitz said he made "a better life" in part to get in touch with his roots. just like the gardener's american-born son. weitz is the first in his family to speak little spanish. [ speaking spanish ] >> reporter: but in any language
the pain of splitting up a family is clear. as in the film, when the father, on the verge of being deported, must say good-bye to his son. >> i wanted you to be able to anything you wanted to be. that would make me feel worthy. if you became somebody. >> reporter: weitz hopes "a better life" will give audiences a closer look at those who have been hiding their lives in the shadows. >> they are bringing up their families. they're going through their own joys and sorrows. they're striving to make things better. >> reporter: russ mitchell, cbs news, los angeles. >> "a better life" is now playing in select cities. it opens across the country on july 15th. looks good, though. >> let's go. >> we can all go to the as a date. nice. >> we could go for your birthday, except that your birthday is today, not on the 15th. >> that's true. >> and you're going to work all
day long on your birthday. >> yes. >> thanks for being so nice. >> we love you nonetheless. >> thank you. >> chris. >> you know i love you. >> he doesn't love you. >> you know i love you. >> the interesting thing about us, three of the four anchor team -- >> yes. >> your birthday is -- >> june 19th. >> i missed the cut. >> the 8th, the 12th. i'll be on vacation for the 20th. you can feel free to celebrate. >> trust me we're going to donate an entire week of celebration. that's all for us from birthday central here. have a great day, everyone. if it's your birthday in the month of july or late june we wish you a happy birthday as well. great day. your local news is coming up next. [ mom ] can a little bowl of cereal change your life?
i think it can. one of the challenges for kayla being gluten-free is actually finding choices the whole family will love. then we discovered chex cereals. five flavors of chex are gluten-free, including the honey nut flavor, and that's amazing to a mom like me. as a parent you don't want to have to tell your kids "no" all the time. it's nice for me to be able to say "yes" to something that they want to eat. [ male announcer ] chex cereal. five flavors. gluten free.